Chelsea and Spurs are the key sides at the heart of our Scout Picks XI for Gameweek 8.
They face Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion respectively in two of the most favourable match-ups of the weekend.
This team has been chosen following the Scout Squad submissions made by David, Neale, Tom and Andy earlier in the week and, as ever, we are in 3-4-3 formation, coming in at £82.9m, £0.1m under our budget of £83.0m.
As a result of the 16:00 GMT deadline today, we are putting this article out earlier than usual. Therefore, these selections were made before Friday’s main bulk of press conferences, not something we normally like to do!
Chosen by three of our pundits, Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) nails down a spot in the Scout Picks for a Gameweek 8 meeting with Newcastle. £4.5 goalkeepers are proving harder to get excited about than ever before, but the Southampton man has been solid if not spectacular this season. Only Emi Martínez (7.1) and Karl Darlow (6.6) have managed more than McCarthy’s six points per million spent in 2020/21 thanks to clean sheets in three matches, and additional save points on the same number of occasions.
Ben Chilwell (£5.9m) looks set to benefit from a favourable match-up in Gameweek 8 as he faces a Sheffield United defence that has conceded more chances down their right-hand side than any other this season. Chelsea’s left-back has created more chances than any other defensive colleague this year so looks poised to involve himself in the Blues’ goals. And don’t forget Frank Lampard’s men are the third-best for expected goals conceded (xGC) over the last four, while Sheffield United have the second-fewest shots on target in that time.
Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion come into Gameweek 8 with the Premier League’s lowest goal conversion rate over the last four matches. That certainly boosts the clean sheet potential of Sergio Reguilón (£5.6m), who has provided an assist in two of his three Premier League starts this season.
Aaron Cresswell (£5.1m) was the most popular West Ham defender among the Scout Squad pundits for Gameweek 8 as their appealing run of fixtures finally gets underway. The Hammers host Fulham this weekend, who have the second-worst shot accuracy since Gameweek 4 (27.8%). While a considerable amount of the Cottagers threat comes from Aleksandar Mitrovic’s aerial ability, David Moyes men conceded the fewest amount of headed attempts of any Premier League team over the last four matches. Cresswell’s role in set pieces means he has created the most chances among West Ham players since Gameweek 4.
Fantasy favourite Kevin De Bruyne (£11.5m) could do well against Liverpool in Gameweek 8. We know the Reds were struggling defensively even before Virgil van Dijk’s long-term injury anyway and his absence has only made things worse. However, the key factor that underpins De Bruyne’s FPL credentials at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday is how Pep Guardiola uses him in games against the so-called bigger clubs. In such matches the Manchester City manager likes to deploy the Belgian a more advanced midfield role than usual and, when they Liverpool during Project Restart, he ran the show and came away with two attacking returns.
Son Heung-min (£9.6m) has been the king of away matches this season, registering 74.6% of his FPL points on the road so far. We are expecting the South Korean to find space behind West Bromwich Albion’s defence at the Hawthorns, especially as chances conceded on the right-hand side of their defence has increased since their recent switch to a back-four.
Hakim Ziyech (£8.0m) has made a significant improvement to Chelsea’s attacking flow since returning from an early season injury. In three starts in all competitions, the former Ajax man has two goals and one assist and, with a shared hand in set pieces alongside Chilwell and Mason Mount, he could benefit from Sheffield United having conceded more headed attempts than any other side this season.
It was a tough call choosing between Jarrod Bowen (£6.3m) and Pablo Fornals from the Scout Squad submissions, each earning two votes each. While we think both assets have decent potential for West Ham’s upcoming run, we have gone with the former for Gameweek 8 based on a specific favourable match-up. Bowen could be afforded a chance to play centre-forward but if he is used on his usual right flank, that will put the winger against a Fulham defence that has conceded the second-highest number of chances on the left flank in 2020/21.
As we have mentioned before, Harry Kane (£11.0m) is still an auto-include in the Scout Picks, selected as the best forward by all four of our Scout Squad pundits. West Bromwich Albion’s defensive improvements of recent weeks proved to be something of a false dawn in their poor 2-0 defeat to Fulham and, if anyone is poised to pile on the misery right now, it’s Kane. He carries an elite level all-round threat into Gameweek 8, top of the league for shots on target and big chances created this season, as well as being Spurs’ designated penalty taker.
Like Chilwell, Timo Werner (£9.4m) should benefit from Sheffield United’s well-documented problems with the right-hand side of defence ahead of Gameweek 8. Whether the Chelsea forward is deployed to the left of Tammy Abraham or is handed the central striker’s role himself, this is an area of the pitch in which he specialises. Throw the German’s recent claiming of penalties away from Jorginho and we could be looking at a big haul for him at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Crystal Palace’s defence is not what it once was and Patrick Bamford (£6.0m) looks poised to capitalise on that. He may have blanked immediately after his Villa Park hat-trick in Gameweek 7 but that was not for the lack of trying. In fact, no player has even come close to Bamford’s 18 shots in the box over the last four matches, while away matches have proved more fruitful for him this season. As he prepares to visit Selhurst Park, the Leeds man has banked 62.7% of his FPL points on the road, despite playing 57.1% of his matches at Elland Road.
Lukasz Fabiański (£5.0m) is an alternative route into the West Ham defence for their appealing run of games. Naturally a nailed-on starting option who has earned enough saves for additional points in four of his seven matches so far this season.
Following his well-deserved first goal of the season last time out, Tariq Lamptey (£4.7m) has plenty of potential at both ends of the pitch for Gameweek 8. Burnley are the Premier League’s joint-lowest scorers and while only three defenders have managed more touches in the box than Brighton’s right-back this year.
Luke Ayling (£4.5m) has been a little unfortunate not to get more attacking returns in recent weeks, offering the highest expected goal involvement (xGI) of any defender in 2020/21. A trip to Crystal Palace could be just to time for him to get involved as the Eagles have conceded more chances on the left than any other side after the first seven Gameweeks.
Crystal Palace and Sheffield United are also the only two sides to have given up more chances on the right-hand than Leicester, who host a resurgent Daniel Podence (£5.5m) in Gameweek 8, a man who benefitted from playing in front of a more recognised full-back last time out.
We choose the Scout Picks captain using a four-way vote between our Scout Squad pundits.
Because the use of Fantasy Football Scout data is used so heavily in this process, the skipper we choose each Gameweek is known only to those with a valid Fantasy Football Scout subscription and revealed to the public only when the deadline has passed.
Here’s how we voted for Gameweek 8:
Each week, one of the Fantasy Football Scout community takes on the Scout Picks by pitting their chosen XI against ours.
The Community Member who beats our team by the largest margin will win a £100 Amazon Voucher and a place in our Moderators and Contributors League for the following season.
Riot managed 50 points for the Community Champions in Gameweek 7 but the Scout Picks went 5-2 up for the season with a healthy score of 67.
THFC4LIFE takes us on for Gameweek 8, opting for a 3-4-3 line-up of Mendy; Zouma, Bellerín, Coufal; Mané, Son (c), Ziyech, Zaha; Kane (vc), Jesus, Adams.
AA33 is the current leader, defeating the Scout Picks by a 53-point margin in Gameweek 2.
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